Kentucky basketball has been the pride of the bluegrass for over a century, and with good reason. UK has won 8 National Titles, second only to UCLA’s 11. Due to the unparalleled success of the basketball program, and the lack of a professional franchise in the state, Kentucky basketball fans are ravenous. There is nothing wrong with passion-until you take it too far! After falling to North Carolina in the NCAA tournament, in the Elite Eight, the passion of Big Blue Nation indeed, went too far.
The contest between North Carolina and Kentucky was truly a “classic,” coming down to the final seconds. After the buzzer sounded and tears were shed, some Kentucky fans went absolutely nuts. A vocal group in the Big Blue fan base directed their ire towards John Higgins, the lead official during the game, who also officiated during the Final Four. If you watched the game, the officiating was questionable at best. However, poor officiating occurred for both sides, and to be quite blunt, happens every game on every level. You can certainly criticize Higgins and his crew for missed calls, but to equate it to the bias that occurred between the US and Soviet Union in the 1978 Olympics is ridiculous. Even worse, a small group of fans took to social media and other platforms to threaten and disparage Higgins personally. Dozens of negative comments were left on Higgins’ business website, questioning his integrity as a person and suggesting his business should be boycotted. Again, its fine to be critical of Higgins as an official, but trying to affect his lively hood crosses a line.
If you as the reader do not feel a line has been crossed, let us offer other instances. While some took shots at Higgins professionally, others up the level of hysteria by threatening his life. Days after the Kentucky loss, Higgins met with FBI officials after receiving several death threats left on his voicemail. There are not enough words in the English language to describe the level of stupidity displayed by these clearly unstable people. If law enforcement can determine individuals who made these threats, please prosecute them to the fullest extent possible. Memo to the Big Blue Nation, there is more to life then basketball, maybe, just maybe, some of you need to get one!